pie quest 2015: eating my way thru julian, ca

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

To kick off our Thanksgiving holiday (and train our stomachs), my mom and I decided to have an impromptu mommy-daughter trip out to Julian, CA. Known for apples in all their forms – from delicious pies to hard cider – Julian is a quiet little mountain town about an hour east of coastal North County.  With pies on the mind and a very significant hunger, we embarked east and headed to the highlands on a quest for food.BB_Julian_05BB_Julian_22

The first stop was for a little lunch – we accidentally ended up at what I think was the worst Yelp-rated restaurant in town. However, we shirked a nightmare-kitchen-scenario and didn’t have an abysmal experience. The Rongbranch Restaurant claims to have some of the best chicken pot pies in town – and they weren’t far off with that claim. The first pie of the day was in fact, delicious. The crust was phenomenal – buttery, light, and the perfect consistency. And the first cider of the day – of the hot variety – did not disappoint. In fact, our reaction was “shit that is fresh.”

I can totally see where the downsides come into play – the salad was a total fail (not sure how that’s even possible), the water tasted like a swimming pool (straight chemicals) and the bathrooms were not particularly nice. It’s not a five-star restaurant. I hate writing anything negative on my blog but I have to be honest. HOWEVER, they do a few things right, and if you’re up for a homey, country cabin vibe with some tasty pot pies, definitely give this place a shot. Like every other restaurant in the area, they also have pie, which we may try next time.

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The town was all dolled up for Christmas, which was so cute. In retrospect I wish we stayed until dark so we could’ve seen the lights. There’s also cider literally everywhere you turn, in all forms.BB_Julian_02a BB_Julian_20

And the reason for the trip: Julian Pie Company. Or, shall I be more specific – Apple Mountain Berry Pie. A delicacy from the heavens, probably prepared by Christ’s own personal chef. Apples, raspberries, strawberries and boysenberries, and a bit of God’s love, muddled together with a crumb top.

A trip to both the Main Street and Santa Ysabel locations yielded horrifying results: no AMB slices at either. location. I was devastated. Fortunately the day was saved: they had whole, unbaked AMBs ready to go. We settled on a slice of dutch apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream and a hot caramel apple cider (insane), and brought a whole pie home.  BB_Julian_04a

Also on the agenda: the Julian Cider Mill for raw apple cider (chilled), apple cider vinegar, and an array of homemade goodies. They had everything from apple and pumpkin butter to gooseberry jam (how Snow White is that) and “Frog Jam” which apparently does not have any frogs in it. BB_Julian_03aBB_Julian_05aAnd how could I forget, I met this llama named Paza. He ate the corner off of my paper shopping bag. 
BB_Julian_08BB_Julian_07bAll the trees were orange, yellow, and red, which is beautiful and exciting for someone whose fall typically consists of palm trees and 75º weather.

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pies, lunch & christmas. my kinda place.

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The last stop of the day was at the Julian Hard Cider Company. I’m a big hard cider fan, and I loved their flavors: Harvest (a dry apple), Cherry, Black & Blue (blackberry and blueberry), Razzmatazz (raspberry), and Apple Pie, which had an incredible spice flavor. We ended up taking home a big bottle of Black & Blue – it was seriously amazing.BB_Julian_08a
I’m happy to report that as I am writing this, I am also consuming some hot Apple Mountain Berry pie, with a scoop of frozen vanilla custard.

Happy Holidays 🎄🍎If you want to grab a Julian pie for yourself but can’t make it out right away, here is a list of places you can buy them in San Diego county. Enjoy!

xx,
Dominique

 

PS. We also headed to Big Bear for a trip to the snow… you can see some pictures on my Instagram here! 🌨⛄️x

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